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1-8-23 What Really Matters

What Really Matters (Acts 10:34-43)

David Peterson / General

Christian Life / Acts 10:34–43

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Jesus is the revelation of both God and true human existence. He shows us we were meant to live in the knowledge of God which brings power and a changed life.

Introduction

1. An adjustment of values (Acts 10:34)

Young woman and her father.

2. The whole NT witnesses to Jesus’ as the one who revolutionizes people’s values.

I. Jesus is the Revelation of What Matters (Acts 10:38, 40)

1. He is the pattern of righteousness (Matthew 3:15)

2. As to his human nature Jesus’ life was lifted up by the Spirit

a. Helium balloon, etc.

II. What Ultimately Matters is Knowing God (Acts 10:35a)

1. To know Him is to Fear Him

Maturity Changes Our Fear of God

To grow in wisdom and love is not to lose all fear of God; it is to change our fear of God. It is to pass from the servile fear of the slave, the fear of punishment, to the loving reverence of the son, fearing to offend his father, and in the end to the purely selfless fear of the lover, the fear of hurting what you love.

—Gerald Vann (1906-1963), British Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher

Source: Gerald Vann, The Divine Pity (Scepter Publishers, 2007)

2. To know him is to have him in your life

3. We know him through his word (Acts 10:36ff; 10:2; 10:22)

a. The way the Spirit comes into our lives (Acts 2:42)

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

III. Knowing God Always Leads to a Changed Life (Acts 10:35b)

1. Acts 10:2: The centurion’s life marked by generous giving; he did what was right (Acts 10:35)

2. God works in us to want to and to do it (Philippians 2:13)

The Barna Group:

Christian philanthropy accounted for 70% of all American philanthropy in 2022 at $300 billion total. Christians also out-gave the U.S. government in addressing global poverty.

‌Religion makes Americans give

‌Religion is the biggest factor that motivates Americans to give money to good causes, said Karl Zinsmeister at Philanthropy. The average annual charitable donations of those who went to religious services weekly add up to $2,935, more than four times those of people who never attended. Of those who attended weekly or prayed daily, 45 percent did volunteer work in any given week, versus 27 percent of those who didn’t. “In study after study, religious practice is the behavioral variable with the strongest and most consistent association with generous giving.” What worries philanthropic experts now is that American churchgoing is declining, and “as faith spirals downward, voluntary giving is very likely to follow.” One area that has held steady: giving to overseas charity. Thanks to religious efforts, that’s now $44 billion a year, more than the total U.S. government foreign aid budget.

Conclusion

1. We’ve a story to tell to the nations

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,

That shall turn their hearts to the right,

A story of truth and mercy,

A story of peace and light,

A story of peace and light.

Refrain:

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,

And the dawning to noonday bright;

And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,

The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,

That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,

A song that shall conquer evil

And shatter the spear and sword,

And shatter the spear and sword.

We’ve a message to give to the nations,

That the Lord who reigns up above

Has sent us His Son to save us

And show us that God is love,

And show us that God is love.

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,

Who the path of sorrow has trod,

That all of the world’s great peoples

Might come to the truth of God,

Might come to the truth of God.

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